​Media Release

Recognising efforts to keep Australia’s biosecurity system strong​

3 March 2015

This year’s Biosecurity Awards presentation highlights the efforts individuals and businesses have made in maintaining Australia’s clean, green trading status – and marks an important milestone in safeguarding northern Australia.

Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, said protecting Australia’s agricultural sector – forecast to be worth $54.4 billion in 2015-16 – along with Australia’s environment, human, animal and plant health was an enormous job and needed the help of the whole community to succeed.

“While all Australians can help protect the nation when they travel or order goods from overseas by not bringing in high risk animal or plant material, our award winners tonight have gone way beyond the call of duty,” Minister Joyce said.

“Tonight’s award winners reflect the full scope of our biosecurity system. Some, like Chevron and deugro Projects, work offshore to stop exotic risks from reaching Australia.

“Others, like the National Gallery of Australia and Knauf Plasterboard’s Jason Toi, are watchful and responsive at the border when pests or diseases are detected. Onshore the likes of Nursery and Garden Industry Australia, Mark Engall from Engall’s Nursery, and Dr Glen Saunders are alert to our requirements and work to minimise the impacts when inevitably detections are made here.

“What is particularly pleasing this year is that many of these winners were nominated by members of the public – including Paul Stephenson who has been awarded the lifetime achievement award for his 20 year commitment to improving the biosecurity system.

“Mr Stephenson’s work to educate our importing and exporting communities about industry’s shared responsibility for managing biosecurity risks has led to nearly 50,000 people enrolling in bespoke training about their rights and responsibilities.

“His focus on ensuring importers have effective offshore quality certification and inspection systems helps keep risks away from our borders – and facilitates trade. 

“The David Banks Biosecurity Lifetime Achievement Award is named posthumously to honour Biosecurity Australia’s Principal Scientist. One of Dr Banks’ lasting legacies came from his strong advocacy for the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS). He provided scientific advice and support, championed its achievements and advocated for funding.”

NAQS was established in 1989 as an early warning system – working with local communities across Northern Australia to monitor more than 10,000km of coastline for exotic pests and diseases.

“Now, 25 years on, that work is more important than ever with this government’s twin commitments to developing the potential in our north and on maintaining our clean and green reputation that underpins agriculture’s significant contribution to our nation’s economy.

“I commend all the award winners for their endeavours and wish NAQS continued success in its work to safeguard Australia.”

2015 Biosecurity Award recipients

David Banks Biosecurity Lifetime Achievement Award
Paul Stephenson, NSW

Industry award
Chevron Australia
deugro Projects (Australia), NSW
Mark Engall, Engall’s Nursery, NSW
Jason Toi – Knauf Plasterboard, QLD
Nursery & Garden Industry Australia

Government award
Dr Glen Saunders, NSW
National Gallery of Australia, ACT

For more information on the Australian Biosecurity Awards visit, agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/about/public-awareness/aba​. ​

Image c​aption:Minister Joyce presents Prime Minister Tony Abbott with a book to commemorate 25 years of the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS).​